Monday, May 30, 2016

Sticky Step Five: Captain's Treasures Antiques & Skyline Restaurant, 1424-6 Queen St. W.

Having recovered from the drug trial testing that sent him to the hospital overnight (which, since he lives in the Parkdale neighbourhood, would most likely have been Toronto Western Hospital at 399 Bathurst Street), and freshly limbered up from another class at TDOT BJJ, Lucas checks his messages, makes a few repairs to his Human-Lizard uniform and then suits up to go out on Friday night patrol.

Toronto Western Hospital at 399 Bathurst Street seen from the intersection at Nassau Street.

Now dressed as Toronto's pretty decent protector, The Human-Lizard, Lucas climbs out of the Secret Lizard Lair's second-floor window and leaps onto the roof of a passing streetcar heading into the downtown core.

The second-floor window of the Secret Lizard Lair and the streetcar cables over the street directly in front.

Zooming down Queen Street West, the Human-Lizard surfs a ride on top of the 501 Neville Park streetcar as it passes by two iconic Parkdale storefronts, The Skyline Restaurant and Captain's Treasures Antiques, identified by the windows of the apartments above.

The rooftops of 1424-6 Queen St. W. can be seen as the Human-Lizard zooms by on the roof of a passing streetcar.

Recently, it was reported that the Skyline Restaurant at 1426 Queen Street West would be closing it's doors permanently, but now that appears not to be the case. As it turns out, Jud Ruhl (former guitarist of 90s indie-rock band, The Gandarvas and more recently, The Beauties, as well as owner of two other downtown T.O. restaurants, The Wallflower and The 3 Speed) has stepped in with his sister Maggie to preserve and revitalize the iconic Parkdale dining institution.

The Skyline Restaurant and Captain's Treasures Antiques at 1424-6 Queen St. W.

To get a look at the best booty on the internet (at least according to Captain's Treasure's Antiques, anyway) set course for the second star on the right and click on to:

Next up: The Pitiful Human-Lizard's first battle with "Johnny Bodyrocks" in the Club District!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sticky Step Four: Toronto BJJ, 813 Bloor St. W. a.k.a. TDOT BJJ

Want to train just like the Human-Lizard, but don't know where to begin? Well, wonder no more! To be in the top fighting form Lucas Barrett needs to fight evil across Toronto, he takes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes at TDOT BJJ.

Toronto BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) at 813 Bloor St. W. on the corner of Crawford St.

Although Lucas sticks to his classes regularly, he hasn't been able to advance from blue belt to purple in over sixteen months now. Then, when his credit card is declined, his black belt professor Marco suggests that Lucas take it as a sign to give it up.

The entrance to TDOT BJJ and Toronto BJJ seen from Bloor St. W.

Lucas blames being injured for the lack of progress, but in true hero fashion, doesn't waver from his determination to continue his training. After answering an ad in the paper for paid medical testing at Walmer + Corp., Lucas is once again flush with cash and what's more, he finds that his endurance and stamina have increased since the drug testing. What Lucas will also quickly learn is that the injuries he sustains patrolling the city as the Human-Lizard aren't going to hold him back any more, either . . .

The entrance to TDOT BJJ and Toronto BJJ seen from Crawford St.

Aside from a newly planted tree replacing the now-missing mailbox (which should tell you everything you need to know about the current state of Canada Post!), TDOT BJJ is identical to Toronto BJJ Mixed Martial Arts Academy, located across from Christie Pits Park at 813 Bloor St. W.

To learn more about taking classes at Toronto BJJ for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts and Muay Thai kickboxing, check out:

Next up: Examining some of the neighbourhood storefronts near The Pitiful Human-Lizard's secret Lizard Lair!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sticky Step Three: Scotia Plaza, 40 King St. W.

When he's not saving the streets of Toronto from monster attacks and villainy of both the super and mundane variety as the Human-Lizard, Lucas Barrett does his best to pay the bills by turning numbers into pie charts and generating fiscal quarter reports at his day job at Scotia Plaza in Toronto's downtown Financial District at 40 King St. W.

The front entrance to Scotia Plaza at 40 King St. W. in Toronto's Financial District.

Built over the original 27-storey Bank of Nova Scotia building located at 44 King St. W (which was originally constructed between 1946 and 1951 and designated as a significant building to Toronto's culture and history in 1975), Scotia Plaza's more modern 68 storey-tower was constructed between 1985 and 1988 and also extends 6 stories underground, the deepest any building in Canada had ever been excavated at the time of it's construction. In addition (and probably of greatest interest to low-level Toronto villain Warshell), Scotia Plaza's basement houses the only gold bullion bank vault in Canada. So Lucas doesn't just jockey a desk in a downtown Toronto office day in and day out, he's actually protecting the Canadian version of Fort Knox!

The iconic tower of Scotia Plaza soars over the original Bank of Nova Scotia building as the Trump International Hotel & Tower, located at 311 Bay St., stands in the background.

As Lucas leaves work for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he sees Mother Wonder taking down one of the many monsters that have recently begun to spring up and plague the city. Although I'm sure the building in the background is located somewhere in the Financial District, I haven't found this exact spot just yet. So if there's a Pitiful Human-Lizard reader who recognizes the scene depicted, don't keep it a secret! Let me know and I'll be sure to update the post and give credit to the eagle-eyed reader who can correctly identify the setting.

Lucas leaves work for the gym and sees Mother Wonder proving why she's Toronto's greatest hero.

For more information on Scotia Plaza, you can also visit their website:

Next up: Learn where The Pitiful Human-Lizard keeps in shape and practices his fight moves!


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sticky Step Two: Freshslice Pizza (now closed), 619 College St. a.k.a. "Big $ Pizza"

Sadly, the location of this next sticky step has closed down since The Pitiful Human-Lizard #1 was first published in 2014 and is still vacant as of this posting. On page one, the very first panel shows the storefront to "Big $ Pizza," which is actually 619 College Street, former home of Freshslice Pizza in Toronto's Little Italy district.

Storefront of the now defunct Freshslice Pizza at 619 College St. in Toronto's Little Italy.

The windows are papered over, so I couldn't get photos of the interior featured in the first two pages of the issue. Hopefully, whoever eventually moves into the space won't change up the interior too drastically and I'll be able to get some comparative photos in the future. For now though, the glass doors and windows facing the street will just have to satisfy.

"Big $ Pizza" from The Pitiful Human-Lizard #1 and the Freshslice Pizza storefront.

Inside "Big $ Pizza," a "CT24" news broadcast on television shows the Human-Lizard saving a child from a shop fire in Parkdale while a traffic cam shot of the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) at Erin Mills Parkway is shown above a headline describing a Scarborough man's arrest for indecent behavior in a mall food court and a quote from former Toronto Blue Jay Paul Molitor. CP24, Toronto's real 24-hour news broadcast outlet, actually shows a traffic cam at Southdown Road (the same street as Erin Mills Parkway south of the QEW).

"CT24" traffic cam of the QEW at Erin Mills Parkway and CP24's traffic cam of QEW at Southdown Rd.
If you're in Toronto and still want Freshslice pizza you're not completely out of luck, but you'll need to travel to North York to get it, since the only other Freshslice Pizza location still operating in Ontario is at 5223 Yonge Street.

Next up: The Pitiful Human-Lizard's day job!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sticky Step One: ***UPDATED*** The Cookery & The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub & Catering, 303-305 Roncesvalles Ave.

Kicking off the chronological Pitiful Human-Lizard Toronto locale hunt is a real deep cut: The setting of the Made In Chinatown mini-comic #0. The first panel defeat of the "Roncie Punker" firmly establishes that the fruit market where Lucas and Yasmeen, the future writer first meet is located on Roncesvalles Avenue.
The "Roncie Punker" taking a lemon to the melon and the shopfront of Ko Fruit Market, 143 Roncesvalles Ave.

No surprise really, since the legion of fruit markets stretched all up the east side of the street are commonly referred to as "Produce Row." Try to find the one fruit market on all of Roncie that matched the one shown on panel? Sure, no problem!

Pearson Fruit Market, 95 Roncesvalles Ave.

This really was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. At first, I thought the shopfront might have been Pearson Fruit Market a few blocks further south, but the market in TPHL MIC #0 isn't on a corner and the sidewalk in front definitely isn't a match. So, after checking the street again, now I'm pretty sure the storefront in question is Ko Fruit Market at 143 Roncesvalles Ave.

Looking south on Roncey in front of Roncesvalles Fruit Village and Ko Fruit Market

Of course, I could have gotten the wrong shopfront entirely, so if anyone out in the internets ever sees what they think is a glaring error here on Sticky Footprints, don't keep it to yourself! Leave a comment and if it turns out you're right, I'll be sure to update the entry and credit the source.

The 504 Broadview Station via King TTC Streetcar heading south on Roncesvalles Ave.

***UPDATE***: As I'd suspected, I was wrong about the location of the Human Lizard's debut and the Roncie Punker's first, last and only defeat being Ko Fruit Market.

Streetcar across from The Cookery and The Dizzy at 303 & 305 Roncesvalles Ave.

As (ever so gently) pointed out by the TPHL creator himself, Jason Loo, during Big B Comics Niagara Falls' 75th Anniversary Celebration of Canadian Comics (which was an incredible who's who of Canadian comic creators and one of the high points of the entire NFCC for me this year), I was looking a bit too far south on Roncie.

The Fruit Market from TPHL MIC #0 & The Cookery at 303 Roncesvalles Ave.

So, my very first Sticky Step was a little off the mark, but I didn't let Jason tell me the exact spot the correct location was, though.

Looking south in front of The Dizzy at 305 Roncesvalles Ave.

On my next excursion into the city, I headed further north on Roncesvalles Ave. and before long, I knew I had found the place for real this time!

Seeing the changes that were made to the store, I don't feel so bad for missing it.

My undoing had been searching for a fruit market on Roncie when, in fact, it had actually closed down since and been replaced with The Cookery.

Without the Fruit Market's awning, baskets & shelves, the storefront looks very different!

This was easy to confirm from the geography of the street along with The Dizzy's Heineken sign, which perfectly matched the sign featured in the first Made In Chinatown mini-comic.

The trees are a little bigger, but not much else is different besides The Cookery's shopfront.

So the Fruit Market at 303 Roncesvalles Ave. is now gone, but if you've already got your groceries and want to learn how to get your cook on, The Cookery holds regular cooking classes. For more information, including their own blog and a calendar of upcoming classes, visit The Cookery's website here.

The Dizzy & The Cookery at 305 & 303 Roncesvalles Ave.

Don't feel like cooking? No problem! Swing next door to The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub & Catering at 305 Roncesvalles Ave., grab a drink and let them take care of it for you!

Next up: The opening scene of The Pitiful Human-Lizard #1!